The attributable risk of lifestyle factors for the development of diabetes, hypertension, and related disorders is very large. To what extent this attributable risk translates into potential for prevention and treatment in the consulting room in much less clear. Previous trials showing effects of lifestyle interventions have often been characterized by intensive patient education and stimulation programmes, which may be difficult to implement in everyday practice. Also, the effectiveness of interventions decreases as the intensity of patient support decreases. Unless intensive patient support programmes are developed and financed in general practitioners' practices, population-based strategies may be more effective in terms of reducing the disease load of lifestyle-associated diseases.